Monday, May 21, 2018

Rain and Deer. In Iowa. While Cycling.

Perfect Running Weather
 The last couple of days have been overcast and gloomy.  Perfect for running if you don't want to get too hot.   But Cheryl had to take Monday off after that 20 mile long run on Saturday.   Perfect time to ride the bike instead.

Dress warm,  Dress for the Rain.
Preping in the mist
Unfortunately,  along with the clouds and gloomy skies comes rain.  It has been raining off and on these days.   Mostly a fine mist.   My tomato plants and Cardinal Creeper are very happy.   But riding a bike in such weather can be uncomfortable at times.
Cheryl's new Ringer!

Even though the temp says 65 degrees,  When you are wet with a slight breeze... it feels colder.  I would have thought I would be done with my cold weather gear by now.  But today I wore some medium gear along with gloves.  For the most part,  it was tolerable.
It's a Donut! (And is very loud!)

Lots of Wildlife today.
The nice thing about the rain is that it keeps the trails Mostly abandoned.   A few brave walkers, hardcore runners, and dog walkers can be seen from time to time.  But for the most part,  Cheryl and I had the entire network of trails all to ourselves!   A pleasant perk to not have to dodge people as you bike along side each other.

Very friendly deer.
The lack of people also allows us to see those animals that are absent when crowds swarm the trails.   We saw lots of birds( as usual) Rabbits,  groundhogs, and a number of deer.   This one doe was practically on the trail as we rode by.   She barely looked up at us as we passed by.   I circled around and took her picture as she browsed on some tree buds. Cheryl came back and watched her as well.
Second pass.

Continues to hang out with us. 
Cheryl watches in the distance.
My neighbor gave me several Tomato plants to supplement my sad attempt at horticulture.   I'll admit I do not have a very green thumb when it comes to plants.   Possibly because I dote over them too much.   Out of the 100 or so small seedlings I sprouted in February.... Only 4 of them have managed to grow over 3 inches at the moment.  I thought if I got them in the ground when I did,  the would fair better than in those little starter pots. 

But the clay ground around here seems to have caused many fatalities.  At least the rains have softened the ground now and the new additions are fairing much better.   Looks like I may have as many as 11 plants in all.   Hopefully,  that will be more and enough for the coming season.

Apparently, My seedlings were "leggy"   Long fragile stems.
Hope everyone is staying dry and warm on this cool wet day.  If it is cold and wet where you live that is.   And if you are growing any plants....  I wish you the best of luck.   Thanks for stopping in.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Cheryl's First Nordic Marathon. The 20 Mile Syttende Mai.

Cheryl Prepares for Battle!
Heart Of Madison.
 I guess the Norwegians do not add that extra 6.2 miles on the end of their Marathons.  Making this...technically,  Cheryl's 6th completed Marathon overall.   I'm sure that will not hold up under any runner's scrutiny,  But since when am I a purist on anything?   And since when do any runners read this blog.

Cold enough to Wear Gloves?
Cheryl runs by at the Start.
20 miles is still 20 miles!  And if you have never walked/ run 20 miles before ( Heck!  Even I have never Run 20 miles!) then you may not truly know the daunting task it is.  I'm still amazed she runs 7 miles for fun... Daily!   But this was never meant as a run she would brag about;   only a "training" run.

Cheryl at Mile 5.

Cheryl runs by at the First mile.
She was a little nervous at first.  Most of the people at the 20 miler were "runner types" and not walkers.   She thought she would be out of her league and left behind.   The route was shared with walkers and cyclist!  As well as the 10 mile runners  closer to the finish line.   With all those people sharing the route,  the thoughts of getting lost seemed slightly less than first imagined.

She has lost the gloves already.
Cheryl at Mile 11
As mentioned before,  she has not done any "long runs" yet this year.   With Grandma's Marathon coming up,   this was meant as a training run to kill two birds with one stone.   Basically to get a race and a training run completed... AND visit Wisconsin again...  She simply loves Wisconsin for some reason.

Refreshing Ice Cold Diet Coke!
One last sip and she is off.
The cool thing about a race this "small" is that I was able to meet up with her at several points along the route.   Sure I had to dodge several runners, walkers, and cyclists along the way;  but I think my presence made a difference in some way.

For example!  At mile 11 I was able to get Cheryl some Ice Cold Diet Coke.... Caffeinated!  She did not think it would be helpful at first, but then got a slight boost to mile 15.

And another Hit of Diet Coke.
Mile 15.  Adding Gummy Chews
At mile 15,  I scored her some gummy chews ( also with caffeine!)  and another hit of the Ice Cold Diet Coke!  It was a one, two punch that helped push her over the finish line. in fact....

And Past. 
In Stoughton,  Cheryl Runs by.
She was so fast,  she ran by me near the end!  I parked the car and waited for the shuttle bus to pick me up.  By the time I reached the runners,   Cheryl was already running past me.   I called to her, but she told me she simply could not stop.

And far, far away....  bye Cheryl!
I spot her at the "Finnish" line. 
I tried to follow her, but I was carrying her purse, a Big Buddy Drink, ( filled with Ice Cold Diet Coke... Caffeinated!)  A map,  30 extra lbs of fat around my middle, and I'm old, bald and out of shape.    So..  Yeah!  She left me in the dust....

She could not outrace the camera!
Os should I say:  Nordic Line!
The good news was that I still managed to get her pic as she crossed the finish line.  Yeah Ethan!   I'm still Awesome!  Kinda.

Cheryl contemplates her awesomeness.
And poses with the Locals. 
After the race,  there were very few festivities celebrating the runners.   Cheryl got a bagel and a shirt.   She places 4th in her age group... Top three got prizes.   She always has to follow those old lady speed demons.

Showing off her Shirt.
Speaking of Speed Demons!  Cheryl repeatedly mentioned that she "might walk" some/most of the race.   She lied!   She ran the entire THING!   Setting a NEW DISTANCE RECORD and feeling like a million bucks afterwards!   She did mention that she surprised herself.   As for me..  Each time I got to the 5, 10, and 15 mile viewing spot...  I did not have to wait more than a few minutes for her to arrive.   And at the finish... I almost missed her completely.    And I had the advantage of the Subaru!  (2.5 Boxer Engine, and Symmetrical All Wheel Drive!)   So,  Yeah!  She was kinda fast on this one.
Eating  a Wisconsin Brat.

With the hard part done,  we revisited the festival and tried out several of the local dishes that tourist travel miles to experience.  Namely.   The Norwegian Brat.  Cheryl was so hungry she dove right in.   Brats from Wisconsin... IN Wisconsin seem to always taste better.   Perhaps it is the sauerkraut.

Rømmegrot  Bars
Custard in the middle.
We also tried Varme Pølse.  Wrapped in Lefse,  a Norwegian flat bread.  It's basically a Hotdog in a really cool tortilla.  Only the Hotdog is more like sausage and the tortilla is more like an unpuffed  puff pastry.   Very good!

Dangerously tasty.
Rømmegrot  Bars.  Imagine Bread Pudding Custard between two extra thick Pie crusts.   Deliciously sinful!  We did not try too many of these things, since the whole point was NOT to gain weight on this trip.  Still,   Cheryl had not had anything substantial that entire morning.  And if running 20 miles does not allow you to eat a bit more,  then I do not know what else does.

Pusheen enjoying the Nordic Dress.
Hiro... Not so much 
So now we are home.  There was no finisher's Beer or Medal at this one,  but Cheryl still managed to find a few things to commemorate the achievement.   A Viking hat and Norwegian flag.   She could not wait to dress up the cats with both items.   At least Pusheen did not seem to mind.   I'm not sure about Hiro though.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend so far.  If you find your way out to Stoughton,  you may want to give the Norwegian festivities a try.  I hear there is Dancing, singing,  and a parade tomorrow.  And perhaps it carries on through next weekend.   Thanks for stopping in.

Friday, May 18, 2018

From Madison to Stoughton. The Syttende Mai 20 Mile Race!

We are currently in Madison Wisconsin preparing for Cheryl's 20 mile training run.   We call this a "training " run because she needs to get at least one 20 mile run in before Grandma's Marathon in Duluth later in June.   Hope that was not too complicated to follow.
Easy Travel with Geese and Ducks.

Having the entire Friday off for Travel was nice for me.   We arrived with lots of time and were able to scout out the race route.   I'm guessing that it will be rather small in number.   The race starts with 17 mile walkers,  and 10 and 20 mile runners...  All running the race on the same route.   So there will be a mix of participants.

We scope out Stoughton.
No Medal?!?!

I should also note that there is no medal.  Only a shirt if/when you finish!   So Cheryl better be stubborn on this one.   She usually melts down on 20 mile training runs...  at least once.   But with a bunch of strangers around,  I'm hoping she can keep things together.  And if she does end up walking a little...  Well,  she will blend right in with the 17 mile walkers.   No one will be the wiser.

Cheryl inspects the Festivities.
I see the Appeal of Norwegian culture.
We both agree that if she has to walk a little,  it is ok.   There is NO MEDAL after all.   So even the RACE OFFICIALS think it is not a "real " race.  The real reason for the race is to help kick off the Norwegian Festival in Stoughton.   I guess Norway is a popular place in these parts.  Who knew?

What are these things?

Can Scandinavians bake? 
Add Sugar and cheese Americans will love it!
We had time to scope out the festival as the set up .  All the locals are prepping for the  influx of tourist dollars as well.   We stopped into some of the local sweet and toy shops  so Cheryl could get her "shopper's fix".   I mostly enjoyed the tarts.   Scandinavian cuisine is not really known around the world  for its flavor.   But add in a touch of  "America!" into their recipes, and you have something that is at least palatable. 

BEHOLD!  The Salad Fork!
My heroic act allows Cheryl to eat. 
So now,   we are eating our supper by the pond outside the hotel.   I found Cheryl a fork so she could eat her salad.   I have to take my "Hero" moments when I can get them .   Other than that,   we plan on heading in and resting for the early rise tomorrow.   If things go well, I will be able to see her at multiple points around the distance.   No "wrap arounds" or Circle back's in this one.   I will have to drive 10 miles ahead and wait...  then drive to the finish line in Stoughton.   My goal is not only to be able to find/see her,  But also not to get lost.    At least I'm not in Boston.
I think it will work out just fine.

A temporary substitute for the medal.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.. Or at least the start of one.   We still might have to find Cheryl a medal or some other way to commemorate this event.   Until then,  I think I have a temporary band-aid for the problem...  Pun intended.    Thanks for stopping in and wish us luck!


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